There is a pervasive fear among many Christians. They fear that reaching out with love to help a sinner will, in some way, excuse the sin of that sinner. This is not true. The purpose of reaching out to a sinner and providing love and grace is not to justify, excuse, or ignore the sin, but to provide them with hope. Hope that they can live without giving in to the sin. Hope to find value in a life of spiritual victory. Hope to have a purpose in Jesus Christ our Savior.
In a similar way, reaching out to the gay, lesbian, “same-sex” community does not condone, justify, or ignore the sin rampant among them. In fact, if done properly, it is exactly the opposite. You are seeking to pull them out of sin, to help them become sensitive to the truth and to repair their broken lives. Nevertheless, Christians often use this fear of “excusing” homosexuality as an excuse for their disobedience of the Great Commission.
No Excuse Justifies Sin
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20
Like any other sin, unholy sexual behavior—of any kind—must be dealt with in the same manner as we would deal with lying, cheating, or thievery. All sexual sin, regardless of its stripe, is a result of lust.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14-15
However, lust is no excuse to sin. We so casually blame the devil or circumstances for our sin. “The Devil made me do it! It was an accident! I didn’t mean it!” Our knowledge of right and wrong may determine how much sin is imputed to us, but at the end of the day, no competent person has an excuse to sin—even the unsaved.
According to Romans 1:18-21, God’s anger is revealed against all sin, making each and every human being without excuse when we face Him—even if the only light a person has is that of God’s creation. No one will be able to face God and say: “How was I supposed to know that I was a sinner?” No, every person on this planet has some knowledge of their depraved spiritual state. They may delude themselves and others, but there is a certain level of knowledge that is implicit.
Everyone is responsible for the knowledge we obtain and we are condemned if we choose to sin. If the heathen men and women of Sodom had only the revelation in nature and were inexcusable, then how much more accountable are we who have the entire Book of Inspiration?
No doubt, psychology and sociology have provided legitimate insight into the whys and wherefores of sinning. Yet there is a problem with this line of reasoning: explanation too often becomes exoneration. There is no excuse, even if we understand what motivates a person’s actions. Predictable sin does not mean acceptable sin in God’s eyes.
Explaining sinful behavior as a result of the environment, peer-pressure, or low self-image may be sophisticated and it may provide insight into the nature of a person or the defects in our society, but it is not an excuse. Sin is always born from our knowledge of what is right, coupled with our choice to do wrong.
Each of us has a unique disposition or nature that was specially hardwired into our DNA. Some of us are right-handed while others are left-handed. Satan may tempt us differently, according to our natural disposition, but no amount of temptation ever makes you choose sin. Human nature is altogether without excuse. We might do well to stop using the old phrase “boys will be boys” to excuse sinful behavior. Instead, we should start teaching that “God will be God” regardless of what you or I may think or do.
There is no excuse for sin, and reaching out to a sinner with love and grace does not condone or excuse their sin. An unfounded fear of “excusing” their sin is no excuse for our sin of disobeying God’s command to take the Gospel to every creature. With this thought in mind, let’s deal with the sin of unholy sexual behavior like we do any other sin—in the light of God’s Word. In reaching out to them, you will not be “harboring a fugitive” from God’s justice. More to the point, you will instead be encouraging them to face the Almighty Judge and come to repentance.